Tag: kelvim escobar

2010 Analysis: Sean Green

Remember when the Mets traded Endy Chavez, Aaron Heilman, Joe Smith, Jason Vargas, Ezequiel Carrera, and Maikel Cleto in return for Sean Green and two other Seattle Mariners? Seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?

Green was supposed to be Pedro Feliciano’s foil – a right-handed situational reliever with the ability to occasionally step in as a setup man. Fans who rejoiced at the arrival of Green and the departure of Heilman soon learned that you must be careful what you wish for. Sure, Green never had the opportunity to allow a postseason homerun; but at the same time, the Mets’ dependence on talents such as Green to fill key bullpen roles was at least part of the reason they’ve been watching the playoffs from home since 2006. For those who forgot, Green was penciled in as the backup to the backup setup man in early 2010 — the man who would step in if Kelvim Escobar and Ryota Igarashi didn’t work out.

2011 Projection

Green’s time as a Met has been marked by inconsistency and injury. In an effort to salvage his career, he converted from sidearmer to submariner – a move that might’ve panned out had he given it enough time. But now that he’s back to being a sidewinder with sporadic control who turns 32 shortly after Opening Day, I’m not sure where he fits in to the Mets’ plans. He’s under the team’s control, but after earning $975K in 2010, does it make sense to renew or go the arbitration route? My guess is they’ll cut him loose and try to re-sign him on a minor-league deal.

Click here to read the 2009 Analysis of Sean Green


Kelvim Escobar Out for the Year

Stunning, shocking headline, I know. We were all counting on the once-nearly-good Escobar to handle the eighth inning for the Mets, but he has suffered an out-of-the-blue setback that requires season-ending surgery.

This wasn’t even going to be given the importance of a post, since we more or less wrote off Escobar the day we heard he couldn’t grip a baseball (and for those who kept the faith, his “weakness” might have sent you toward reality). The idea that he might pitch at all in 2010 was considered a joke, in fact.

But after the official news of Escobar’s impending surgery broke, I received several emails from you, the loyal readership, and felt compelled to address the issue.

So … there goes $1.5M down the drain. To be fair, it was much less painful (pardon the pun) a loss than last year’s J.J. Putz debacle. Had the Mets signed him to be an extra arm, or “gravy”, rather than as “the guy” for the 8th inning, it would have been a logical, safe gamble.

The good news is, the Mets have a backup plan in place named Ryota Igarashi.

Oh, wait … he’s on the DL, isn’t he? So then it must be Sean Gre… never mind. I guess I meant Kiko Calero. Oh shoot, Calero is in AAA because he was signed so late (after it was discovered Escobar could grip a pen but not a ball), and he allowed 7 runs in his last outing for Buffalo, didn’t he? Well, that’s better than Johan Santana did in his last appearance, so there’s that. Luckily, the Mets have Brian Stokes. Er, I mean … Bobby Parnell. No, that’s not right, either … um … who IS the setup man?

Ah, relief pitching is overrated anyway … better to have spent big bucks on second-string catchers and experienced backup infielders.


April Fools Comes Early

Kelvim Escobar told Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional that he will decide on April 1st whether or not to pitch in 2010 (hat tip to TheRopolitans, via MLBTR).

Does anyone else see “April 1st” as a fitting day to make such a decision?

Yes, from the beginning the Escobar signing was seen as a “risk-reward” situation. But you have to wonder if any other team was willing to risk $1.5M guaranteed on a pitcher with extensive, chronic shoulder problems, had been shut down after tossing only five innings in 2009, and would not have passed a physical.

We are going to assume that the Mets gave Escobar a “Putz Physical”, because if his arm was “weak” in February, then how could it possibly have been healthy, or “strong”, in mid-December?

The Mets’ pattern of throwing good money after bad continues, and nothing is learned by mistakes. I understand the idea of “low risk, high reward”, and often support it. But you have to examine exactly what “low risk” really means.

$1.5M doesn’t seem like a “high risk” for big-market team like the Mets — and it shouldn’t be. But when you gamble $1.5M on damaged goods, and you pencil in those goods as your setup man, how can it be defined as “low risk” ?

What makes the “low-risk” gampble more risky is inserting another “low-risk, high-reward” proposition as Plan B — a Japanese import.

We’ve beaten this horse before, but it bears repeating: the Mets overspend as a rule, and yes, it IS an issue even when it’s “only” one or two million dollars. The Mets bid against themselves in spending $3.5M on Escobar and Cora — a sum total that would have netted, say, Bobby Crosby and Bobby Howry … or, say, Felipe Lopez, Clay Condrey, and LOOGY Javier Lopez. We could play this game all day — fill in the players of your choice. Bottom line is the Mets continue to be penny-wise and pound-foolish, gamble on multiple high (not low) risks, then wonder how the second-highest payroll in MLB can result in second-to-last place finish.

One thing’s for sure: I know exactly how I’m betting if I see Omar Minaya rolling the dice at a craps table in Atlantic City.


Slow Start for Kelvim Escobar

In a shocking turn of events, Mets reliever Kelvim Escobar has suffered a setback in his recovery from shoulder problems — to the point where he is expected to begin the season on the disabled list.

It is stunning news, considering that Escobar proved he was completely capable of picking up, gripping, and softly tossing a baseball only a week ago. But he felt some “weakness” and has been shut down from throwing activities.

Per The New York Times:

Escobar, who is experiencing weakness and discomfort in his right shoulder, is not even playing catch on flat ground. The plan is to start again on Monday and then see what happens. That means he will almost certainly not be ready for opening day.

Hmm … if he’s “not even playing catch on flat ground” does that mean he’s playing catch …. underground?

In all seriousness, this is really bad news for Omar Minaya, who rolled the dice on Escobar. Truth is, it wasn’t a bad idea to gamble on Escobar for only $1.25M. The bad idea, was to COUNT on Escobar to fill a significant role in the bullpen.

From John Harper’s column in the Daily News:

According to one baseball executive who spoke with GM Omar Minaya about it, the Mets were immediately penciling Escobar in as a key to their bullpen, and only a couple of weeks ago Johan Santana was praising him as an important addition to the club, saying that his toughness would help set the right tone for a comeback season.

Santana’s statement was partially right — Escobar has set the tone for the season.

Harper also noted that Japanese import Ryota Igarashi — the next reliever in line for the setup role — “was less than impressive, unable to control his splitter, his signature pitch” in a bullpen session on Saturday. Certainly not good news, but it’s still early; sometimes people have bad days. Though, I am mildly concerned that Igarashi will have trouble adjusting to the size of the baseball.

With Carlos Beltran and Kelvim Escobar missing Opening Day, Francisco Rodriguez suffering from pink eye, and Jose Reyes being questioned by the FBI, the spring has not exactly gone off to the best start. However, there must be a light at the end of the tunnel — things can only get better from here, right?


Kelvim Escobar Already Injured

I tried … I tried so gosh darn hard to be positive, to remain upbeat, being that today was the day that “pitchers and catchers report” to Port St. Lucie.

Yet, hours before the doors to Tradition Field were opened, it was reported that free-agent Kelvim Escobar was joining Carlos Beltran among the walking wounded.

Escobar — who was shut down after throwing 5 innings in June last year — “cannot grip a baseball“.

Hmm … that’s generally a prerequisite to throwing a baseball. Unless he can maybe flick it somehow? Is it within the rules to kick it, perhaps off a tee?

As mentioned in the comment string by “hotspur” on AmazinAvenue:

if he couldn’t grip a baseball today, how could he hold a pen to sign the contract last month?

A mystery indeed … only The Shadow knows …

On a positive note, David Wright whispered that he expects the Mets to go deep in the playoffs in 2010, and win a World Series. No response yet from Jimmy Rollins’ corner.

Personally, I’m setting my expectations for the Mets a little much lower, with the hopes that they’ll happily surprise me. In fact, I’m simply hoping they can uniform 25 healthy players on Opening Day — everything else from there is gravy.


Mets Sign Kelvim Escobar

kelvim-escobarThis time it’s for real, we think: the Mets have reached an agreement with Kelvim Escobar on a one-year, minor league deal.

The news was tweeted by Joel Sherman and reported by ESPN.

According to the Daily News:

Minaya told the Daily News Friday, “With Escobar, we are looking at him as a reliever.”

This is a fine low-risk move for the Mets, but keep your expectations low. Escobar once had lights-out stuff, but has been marred by shoulder and elbow injuries his entire career. He missed all of 2008 and most of 2009 after shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.

Generally speaking, pitchers don’t come back from labrum surgery with anywhere near the velocity they had before. Ask Jason Schmidt, Freddy Garcia, or Mark Mulder. It’s not impossible to make a comeback from the surgery — Jon Rauch, Curt Schilling, and Chris Carpenter all returned — but, the success stories are few and far between.

After almost two years of inaction, Escobar returned on June 5, 2009 and pitched five innings and 92 pitches. He suffered shoulder pain after the outing and didn’t pitch again.

*** UPDATE ***

There are conflicting reports regarding Escobar’s contract. Some say it is a minor league deal, while others now say it is an MLB contract with $1.25M guaranteed. If that’s the case I’m not sure this signing makes much sense, because Escobar could very well be as effective as Duaner Sanchez. Like Sanchez, Escobar needs 92+ MPH velocity in order to succeed.


Free Agent Evaluation: High Reward Starting Pitchers

bensheetsAnyone who watched the Mets in 2009 knows that after Johan Santana, there was a large hole in the starting rotation. The Mets desperately needed a #2 starter, and some would argue they didn’t have anyone worthy of being deemed a #3.

But there’s only one legit #2 starter on the free agent market — John Lackey — and he likely will either re-sign with the Angels or receive a contract that reeks of more risk than reward.

On the other hand, there is an intriguing group of potentially low-risk, high-reward arms available — pitchers who may require only a one-year commitment and less than $10M, yet have #2 or even ace potential. Will the Mets roll the dice? Let’s take a look at them.